Hello everyone! New member with a lot of newbie questions, and in need of some immediate help & advice because my little guy is not feeling well and I want to save him. There seems to be a lot of veteran aquarists here with a lot of knowledge and if someone could PLEASE bear with me I’d really appreciate responses to my problems I’ve recently encountered with my goldfish. Please forgive my newbie mistakes — I’m really trying to do this guy good and proper… I want to better myself as a caretaker and see him happy and healthy! There is an overwhelming amount of information I just learned once discovering this forum…! I almost want to cry because there’s so much to take in. At the end of the post will be my water test results. I need a lot of help! So sorry this is long but I wanted to paint the whole picture. My questions, if you’d be so kind to follow up on, are in bold.
As far as I can tell he’s a calico fantail or veiltail, not sure which. He has a deformity on one of his frontal fins; on the right side its as if it’s growing out from inside his gill area, a lot higher up on his body as compared to the other, which is located lower and not in the gill! Hence his name, Nemo!
A little back story: I inherited this guy along with 3 other fancies in June 2012 in a 10 gal tank from a friend that was moving. They had been kept in this tank together for about 6 months prior when they were all small – (I think they were bought at 10mos~1yr old from the store.) I did some quick research once I got ‘em, and learned obviously that this was way overstocked, and I promptly found a family that had a 55 gal tank and they adopted them into a better home, with me keeping this one, because I took pity on his Nemo-fin and also thought he was so beautifully colored. He measures about 4” long from mouth to tail currently… he grew about ½ inch in length since I first got him.
I know I need to upgrade his tank as soon as I can to at least 20gal in the next few weeks but I want to get him happy again. I’m saving up some money for the kit… (I’ll need advice on transferring him into his new home… but that’s another topic? Would moving him into a larger tank fix his problems right now or shock him too much? I don’t have any hospital or quarantine tubs yet either… meh!)
By blind luck, I kept him in this tank with no incident for 6 months until now. Sorry to say but I had no prior experience… but this was my routine: I was replacing the carbon filter once a month, using Tetra AquaSafe conditioner with each weekly 30% water change with a gravel vacuum, and turning on the bubbler for a few hours each day. He was spritely; happy to see you, ate with appetite, and swam around like a happy fish. I had no water test kit, because everything seemed just fine…. It appeared cycled but had no true idea (I know... don’t kill me). Are you supposed to have an air bubbler/stick on 24/7 or can you plug it in for just a few hours a day?
About 1 month ago, he starting bottom sitting for 2+ days and was very listless… the local Petco guy thought it might be nitrate poisoning, because overfeeding may have been an issue with my family members accidentally double-feeding during the holidays (using Tetra flakes… also, I know. I’m working on it.) He recommended switching to AmQuel Plus to detoxify ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. I did a 50% water change and added this new conditioner and by the second day Nemo was back to his normal self.
However… about 4 or so days ago he was swimming around normally, just fine, but I noticed he developed a white pimple-like bump on his forehead, with what I thought were one or two other small ones on the back of his dorsal fin area. I watched it and it grew a little larger the next day or so, by this point Nemo started acting funny; he got lethargic and starting hanging out at the top of the tank all day and all night for about 2 days; not really gasping for air, just sort of floating there. I was concerned so I did another water change and attempted to remove some gravel, which I realized was ridiculously too much and probably part of the problem (it was about ½” high.) By removing this, it kicked up a storm of debris and clouded up the water pretty bad. L I also had some API AccuClear drops which I added, thinking it could help clump up the tiny cloudy bits and make it go into the filter… it eventually settled down.
I researched more, learning about the possibility of ICH…. Sure enough, his ‘pimple’ appeared to have burst and was flaking away… so I freaked out because I thought for sure now all the parasitic swimmers were going to infest the tank and reinvest Nemo – based on my readings, I decided to try the salt and heater method rather than dose him in harsh chemicals.
The next day after the water change and cloudy water he switched to bottom sitting and is just hanging out there, not moving much with hardly any appetite and looking very sad indeed.
Mind you, I had no tank heater before this. I had one of those dinky stick-on thermometers which was reading around 60-65° average, but it gets pretty cold in our house at night (50°s), and ICH is supposed to thrive in cold water right, so…On Sat (2/2) I did another small water change (about 25%) and bought a submersible heater & better thermometer... installed it, and let it adjust over 24 hrs which was supposed to gradually bring it up to 74°~76°, which is where it is at now. I had added 1 tbsp dissolved kosher Hawaiian sea salt in at the time of placing the heater in. (Dissolved in tank water of course… I’m learning! I almost put the salt in directly. D’oh.) I bumped it up slightly yesterday evening (2/3) to hopefully bring it to near 80° within the next 24 hours which I read, and added another 1 tbsp of sea salt gradually… is this correct? Is it too much of a temp change? Do I need more salt?
He seems to have responded a little bit to this treatment – there is only a slight white spot left where the ‘pimple’ had been, it seems to be going away... he is moving around a bit more, but not by much. If I get up close to the tank in his face, he’ll wiggle around a bit and make a lap around the bottom of the tank, and slowly settle back in, usually near the back of the tank and hiding away from me.
I read here in the forums to try peas... because he may also be having swim bladder problems? I fasted him last night and this morning, and gave him 1 cooked, peeled and slightly mashed pea tonight (2/3). He ignored it at first, then became real interested in it… kept chewing it and spitting it out but excitedly going after it again. It took him a while to get all of the mushed pieces but he did. I plan on giving him peas for the next two days, is this correct? Just one pea a day?
Today (2/3) after coming home from work and before feeding him the pea, I noticed there was a long, white/bubbly poo still attached to him as he bottom-sat. Constipation? Swim bladder? I placed my hand near the tank so he would move around to dislodge it but I’m sure this is no good sign, as they were always fairly normal poos… lol.
I also bought a Tetra EasyStrips test kit as a quick fix last night… I was on a budget because payday is still a few days away and the cost of all the separate drop kits REALLY added up… Now I’m learning these strips aren’t as accurate but it is the best I can do at the moment. Unfortunately it didn’t have an ammonia tester in it so I am at a loss there, but nitrites are 0ppm and nitrates are at ~20ppm… so could ammonia really still be a factor with all the recent water changes I’ve done?
I had been administering water changes using my Reverse Osmosis filtered water system, adding the AquaSafe each time for conditioning (prior to switching to AmQuel Plus) last month... And adding the water in pretty much right away, not letting it sit L. But as I mentioned, this method had seemed to work just fine for 6 months…!
So…. Now I am unsure if I should switch to my tap water, as I am just learning there is an issue with GH, KH and pH values of my RO pure water!? Since I only recently acquired the test kit I have no idea if these values were like this the whole time or not. (I’m guessing probably..?) The RO pure water is very soft GH, very low KH, and very low pH & is acidic… L The tank readings and straight from the RO readings are virtually the same with the exception of the nitrates in the tank. So since the conditions could very well have been this way for over 6 months, would it be too much of a shock to raise GH, KH, pH with buffers, bicarbonate soda, limestone, etc?
Without further ado, here are the water stats:
Test Results for the Following:
· * Ammonia Level (tank): not available L
· * Nitrite Level (tank):0~0.25ppm, hard to color match exactly; I think it’s closer to 0.
· * Nitrate level (Tank): 20ppm
· * Ammonia Level (Tap): not available L
· * Nitrite Level (Tap) 0ppm
· * Nitrate level (Tap) 0ppm
· * Ph Level, (Tank) (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 6.2 pH, 0~20ppm KH, 25ppm GH
· * Ph Level, (Tap) (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 6.8 pH, 40ppm KH, 25ppm GH
Other Required Info:
· * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? Tetra EasyStrips 6-in-1
· * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? (1) Tetra whisper i10
· * What kind of water additives or conditioners? Was using Tetra AquaSafe, recently switched to AmQuel Plus, API AccuClear once in a while but rarely.
· * Water temperature? Currently 78°
· * How often do you change the water and how much? Weekly 25% change w/ vacuum
· * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? Yesterday, 2/2 20% WC
· * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 10 Gal and running for 6 months in my home, 6 months in prior owner’s home
· * How many fish in the tank and their size? 1 fantail/veiltail 4” long mouth to tail
· * What do you feed your fish and how often? Tetra flakes, just introduced pea
· * Any new fish added to the tank? no
· * Any medications added to the tank? Just salt and heat
· * List previous issues experienced (dropsy, SBD, etc.) nothing but bottom sitting/listlessness/lost of appetite prior to this current occurrence
· * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? White spot, possible Ich, as described above
· * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? listlessness, top them bottom sitting, loss of appetite
· * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment: see above!
· * You can really help us to identify with the concern more accurately if you post some pictures and a short video: here he is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7v1m5GBwmQ&feature=youtu.be He only will swim around like this and make a lap if I get right up in his face and/or put my fingers next to him on the glass. Otherwise, he'll just sit there! Usually he'd get all excited to see me.
Also, he usually doesn’t have the hood light on… I only recently acquired it and before he got sick I tried it a few weeks ago and he seems to not like it. He swims around fast as if startled and tries to hide under the plastic plants or the filter when I do this. His tank is never in direct sunlight but it is nearby some windows so there is a lot of ambient light throughout the day. I just turned it on to take the photos and pictures tonight. Is that ok?? Does he need the lightbulb?
ANY HELP IS VERY MUCH APPRECIATED I don’t want to overdo things too much at once and stress him out more than he already is!! Not even sure if it was proper Ich, should I continue the salt and heat for a few more days? L Poor guy!! I feel so bad!